Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Hearst Castle

We weren’t at all sure what to expect from our visit to Hearst Castle, but my goodness it’s absolutely amazing, one of those places you really have to see to believe.   Once one of the many homes of William Randolph Hearst it just shows what you can achieve when you have billions of Dollars to play with.
The ornate main entrance to the castle, visitors go in through a side entrance.
Although the Hearst family still use the castle and its grounds a few times a year; it’s now a California State Park and only accessible to the public on guided tours. 

Another view of the castle, this time I was able to get both towers in.

The castle and grounds are full of antiquities from all over the world, and the marble statues around the outdoor pool are about 3,000 years old.   W R Hearst must’ve been a dream client to auction houses like Sotheby’s; in fact he spent so much money on artefacts that at one point he borrowed cash from his mistress. 

Apparently, the outdoor pool which is currently being renovated; has always leaked and despite all of W R Hearst’s billions, neither he nor the State of California have been able to fix it!  

One of the terraces at Hearst Castle, there are fabulous views across the Pacific Ocean.

The statues in this photograph are Egyptian and thousands of years old.

W R Hearst referred to the castle in California as his ‘ranch’, our guide told us that Lauren Bacall once refused an invitation saying she’d been to lots of ‘ranches’ in California, she was never invited again.   Winston Churchill and his wife, along with many famous people and film stars, have also stayed at the castle.

One of the ‘guest’ cottages, imagine arriving at your destination and discovering this was to be your home for the next few days! 

The fireplace in the Grand Salon, they were starting to decorate for Christmas when we visited in November last year.

The dining room; if I remember rightly, the fireplace and tapestries came from an old French chateaux and the wooden choir stalls came from an old Spanish or Italian church.

How about this for a private indoor swimming pool?   Real gold leaf is embedded into the handmade tiles.  

It looked so inviting.

Hearst Castle once had a private zoo that was home to many exotic animals, today only the animal enclosures remain.   However, one species thrived and still lives quite happily among the cattle herd, so if you happen to be driving along the Pacific Coast Highway you could be forgiven for thinking you were seeing things.  

Yes, that is a Zebra.

As I said we really didn’t know what to expect from Hearst Castle, but we’re really glad we took the time to visit.

Have fun, we are!